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BOSNIA

A SHORT HISTORY

A useful and brief, but comprehensive, history of Bosnia from earliest times to the brutal present. Until its virtual dismemberment in the past three years, Bosnia was a unique political and cultural crossroads, a product of four great empires (from Rome through Austro-Hungary) and four major faiths. Some pundits suggest that this last situation is the one that has caused the small country so much grief, but in his tracing of Bosnia's history, Malcolm, a political columnist for the Daily Telegraph, thinks otherwise. He says that the lesson of history is ``not that Bosnia had to be kept in check by a larger power to prevent it from destroying itself from within, but...what had always endangered Bosnia was...the ambitions of larger powers and neighboring states.'' Although the truth of this statement applied to the familiar recent history is transparent, most readers will be less well acquainted with the events that led to Bosnia's current state. The book traces this history, full of upheavals and a swirling mix of ethnic and political tensions, methodically if a bit drily. Throughout, Malcolm makes the point that almost everything that occurs in Bosnian history gets interpreted to suit somebody's nationalist schema; to his credit, he is extremely careful in balancing claims and interpretations for the period leading up to this century. When the more familiar events of the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War, and the break-up of Yugoslavia in its aftermath, are reached, he is no less candid in expressing his own point of view, sympathetic to Bosnia, outraged at the manipulations of Milosevic, Karadzic, and the gangsterlike apostles of Greater Serbia and the criminal stupidity with which the EC and the US have handled the situation. A very serviceable introduction to a complicated history.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-8147-5520-8

Page Count: 340

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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